RICH INTERVIEWS: Carla Speed McNeil
First Comics News: How did you end up being a guest artist on “Harrow County”?
Carla Speed McNeil: I became a guest artist on HARROW COUNTY because I dropped by the Dark Horse booth at NYCC to check in, and Daniel Chabon popped out of a magic mushroom and offered me the job.
1st: What is the best part of working on “Harrow County”?
Carla: The best part of working on HARROW COUNTY was the depth of the material. Cullen and Tyler have created a world with great texture; it feels old and new at the same time.
1st: What is the Abandoned and how does your art make it scary?
Carla: The Abandoned is a monster. A concentration of bitterness and solitude, frustration and arrogance, immense fire with no fuel to burn anymore except itself.
1st: What makes you a good artist for a horror story?
Carla: What makes me a good horror artist is my ability to capture character. If the characters in the story feel something, you the reader can grasp what they feel. Genre fiction sometimes suffers from poor or thinly-constructed characters. If the people don’t feel real, you don’t care what happens to them. Emmy and her lot feel real, and they deserve every nuance an artist can bring to their depiction.
1st: Do you get to work with Emmy in your story if so how did you draw her?
Carla: I do get to draw Emmy. I thought of her as a transmogrified Peppermint Patty. With witch powers. Patty would have kicked ass with witch powers.
1st: How would you like to visit Harrow county?
Carla: How would I like to visit Harrow County… briefly, and in full daylight.
1st: What is your comic book series “Finder” about?
Carla: My comic book series FINDER is about culture clash on an alien world with a lot of familiar things. The main character is an aboriginal detective. On the outside, he’s a nomad, traveling his family’s traditional routes. In the city, he’s an unlicensed private eye. And there are weird things.
1st: What did your art add to Red Sonja’s character when you worked on “Legends of Red Sonja”?
Carla: I don’t know that my art added anything to Red Sonja, Sonja’s pretty much all there already. I did have to put leather panties on her in one panel. Does that count?
I did get to draw an awesome Ensorceled Cephalopod, mind you. Bucket list thing.
1st: In drawing and writing a story in “Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman” how did you feel working on such an iconic character?
Carla: Coming up with a story for WONDER WOMAN was a challenge. People often think of Batman as the ‘dark knight’ and Superman as the ‘white knight,’ what role does that dualism leave Diana? None. She’s ‘the chick.’ Well, she’s so much more than that, but I was having a rough time of it; then three things occurred to me. One, the image of a Tarot card, Strength: in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, it shows a lovely woman with wavy dark hair in a gauzy dress closing the mouth of a lion. The second thing was a scene in that Miyazaki film, NAUSICÄA. In the scene the heroine bitten (hard!) by a frightened animal. You or I would bash that little creature against the nearest fence post to make it let go. Not she; she just waits and speaks soothingly. She SHAMES the little critter into letting go! She is something special; she is a warrior, but she is one that never loses her compassion. That’s Diana to me.
The third thing was this: it occurred to me that anyone who really loves a superhero must have occasions when they grit their teeth and mutter “If so-and-so was here, this situation would have turned out differently.”
I didn’t know what a huge WW fan my older sister was. She’s eight years older than I am, so I missed most of HER childhood. But once I found out, we talked about things like that, and settled on a crazy story she’d heard on the radio about a guy trapped in a Mexican standoff with his pet lion. I did my own version of that story. Diana would have been able to handle that.
1st: What type of monster would you most like to draw that you have not in a comic?
Carla: What type of monster would I like to draw? Do dinosaurs and ice age mammals count?
1st: What is the best way for an artist to improve their art?
Carla: The best way for an artist to improve their art is to go back to the well. Do your life drawings, study architecture, go to the beach or the hockey rink or the zoo or the dance competition and learn to draw bodies in motion, expressive faces, and anatomy. Whatever you can do, you can do better; try new techniques and add things to your bag. Goes for writers too.
1st: What would you do with Wonder Woman’s powers and abilities?
Carla: Wonder Woman’s powers and abilities… I would love to imagine being the greatest gymnast the world has ever produced, being able to outrun, outjump, outfight anyone she needed to. I also expect she’s a hell of a dancer.
1st: Who has inspired you the most in your life?
Carla: There is no single person who has inspired me all my life. There are mobs. I guess if I were to choose book authors, they’d be Shirley Jackson, Diana Wynne Jones, and Alan Moore.
1st: What would you like to say to all your adoring fans?
Carla: To my adoring fans I would say that I’m soon finishing up my latest FINDER, and until it appears in paperback form, it will update in eight-page parts on my Patreon, https://www.patreon.com/carlaspeedmcneil , along with whatever else crosses my desk, and I’m painting the cover this weekend.
Carla Speed McNeil is creating Comics | Patreon
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